On the beaches of St. Augustine, a single day can deliver a lifetime of memories. Bask in the glow of nature at its finest; beautiful birds, bountiful fishing and miles of unspoiled shoreline at once inspire relaxation, reflection and recreation. So rise and shine, don your swimwear and prepare for an illuminating adventure.
A stroll along the strands of Anastasia State Park is an ideal way to greet the day, sipping coffee and communing with nature and tranquility. The expression "quiet as a mouse" is perhaps nowhere more appropriate than here. Anastasia Island is home to the endangered Anastasia Beach Mouse, a curious nocturnal creature that lives in the sand dunes and survives on seeds from sea oats.
Anastasia nurtures many types of wildlife and offers ample opportunities for birding, even in spring and summer. Watch for nesting least and royal terns, brown pelicans, ring-billed gulls and black skimmers. You might see a great blue heron and a laughing gull, all while sauntering along these shell-sprinkled shores.
Boarding and Boating
If you’d like to pick up the pace, catch a wave on a surfboard, wakeboard or windsurfer. This is one of the most exhilarating places to hang ten on Florida’s East Coast. The high-flying sport of kiteboarding has made a splash on St. Augustine’s beaches: Matanzas Inlet is internationally renowned as a kiteboarding mecca. Ocean toys are available for rent; watersports instruction, canoeing, kayaking and abundant fishing provide myriad choices for fun in the sun.
Enjoy a mid-day repast from the concession stand, picnic in the park or head on over to Village Garden Food Truck Park for eclectic food options. After lunch, lounge – it’s good for you! Soak up some vitamin D while reflecting on the beauty of the beach, then see the sunlit sands of St. Augustine from a seabird’s point of view. Climb to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum for a spectacular vista.
Afterwards, travel north to serene Vilano Beach, where sharks’ teeth are scattered throughout the unusual coquina sands; fish from the pier, jetties or surf. For dinner, find fresh seafood and panoramic views of the Atlantic at The Reef of St. Augustine. As darkness descends, the sun readies for a bright new day, and so should you. Each one holds new and delightful discoveries.
Outstanding Optional Excursions
Marineland Dolphin Adventure, the world’s first "oceanarium," is home to a Dolphin Conservation Center – an innovative, interactive center devoted to bringing together people and these fascinating marine mammals.
At the GTM Research Reserve, you can see life-size models of a Northern right whale and her calf, manta rays and cobia. Aquariums, hands-on exhibits, art displays and educational programs provide an insightful introduction to the relationship between the creatures that make their home offshore and in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas estuary.
Schedule a nighttime kayak excursion with GeoTrippin' Adventure Company for their bioluminescence tours held on select nights at the GTM Research Reserve.